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National Association of Theatre Owners' John Fithian Argues That the Time to Re-Open Movie Theatres is Now

National Association of Theatre Owners' John Fithian Argues That the Time to Re-Open Movie Theatres is Now

Earlier today, Warner Bros. announced that the release of Christopher Nolan's much-anticipated Tenet has been delayed for a third time. Now, in an interview with Variety, National Association of Theatre Owners head John Fithian argues that this announcement, plus the delay of countless other theatrical releases, are crippling the industry.

"Distributors should stick with their dates and release their movies because there's no guarantee that more markets will be open later this year. Until there's a vaccine that's widely available, there will not be 100% of the markets open," he said. "Because of that, films should be released in markets where it is safe and legal to release them and that's about 85% of markets in the U.S. and even more globally. They should release their movies and deal with this new normal."

What could happen to the cinemas in trouble? "Many will have to go through bankruptcy. Some will reorganize, others will fold. I have no doubt that on the other side of this, cinemas will be stronger than ever and moviegoing will come back bigger than it was before. But if we don't find a way to reopen, a lot of jobs will be lost and a lot of companies will go away."

The National Association of Theatre Owners is the largest exhibition trade organization in the world, representing more than 33,000 movie screens in all 50 states, and more than 33,000 additional screens in 97 countries worldwide.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a second office in Los Angeles, California, NATO represents its members in the heart of the nation's capital as well as the center of the entertainment industry. From these vantage points, NATO helps exhibition influence federal policy-making and work with movie distributors on all areas of mutual concern, from new technologies to legislation, marketing, and First Amendment issues.

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